Dressing Versus Stuffing

Mushroom Dressing

This time of year, everyone seems to be planning for Thanksgiving. Most of that planning is around the dinner. There are people who make stuffing and those who make dressing. The difference between the two, is where you cook it.

When you stuff the bird, it is stuffing. Cooked outside of the turkey, it is dressing. Over the years I’ve had a lot of variations on both. My Mom always bought Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix as a base. The she added onions, celery, sausage and sometimes mushrooms. She also made a pretty darn good cornbread stuffing. I tend to use a good quality bread, often homemade, that I toast and combine with veggies and stock and then bake as dressing.

I love stuffing, too. The only problem is that by stuffing the bird you must increase the cooking time to be sure the stuffing has reached a safe internal temperature ( 165 degrees).  I prefer to stuff smaller birds, like chicken, where the cooking time isn’t as long. We always had stuffing when I was little. Eventually Mom switched over to dressing to make it faster to cook the bird. Keep in mind, my family normally had turkeys that weighed over 25 pounds. The cooking time for a stuffed bird of that size is pretty long.

There are also people who add eggs to their stuffing/dressing. That wasn’t something I’ve done. It is something I need to try at some point. The “eggers” swear by the moistness and texture of their recipe. I will admit to being intrigued.


So how do you make your stuffing/dressing? Eggs, no eggs? In the bird or out? I love to hear what others are doing. I have my recipe, which I will share with you, but I am open to trying something new.



Basic Bread Stuffing/ Dressing
1 c. sliced mushrooms
¾ c. diced celery
3 T. minced onions
2 T. chopped parsley
4 T. butter or margarine
4-5 c. bread cubes
salt and pepper to taste
¼ – ½ c. turkey or chicken broth if making dressing

Sauté vegetables in butter until tender. Add bread and seasonings and toss to coat. Stuff into turkey just before cooking or add broth and place in covered casserole, cooking for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees. When making stuffing allow ¾ c. per pound of turkey. You may want to stuff the bird and still make extra dressing for the next day. When making dressing be sure to cover the pan well to keep the dressing from drying out.


Oyster dressing: Add 12 ounces of oysters, cooked in their own liquid for 3 minutes and drained to the stuffing. For the dressing you may want to reserve some of the cooking liquid and add it in place of turkey broth.

Cornbread Stuffing: Omit bread cubes and add 4-5 cups of cornbread crumbs.

Fruit Stuffing: Omit parsley and add 1 ½ c. chopped tart apples and ½ c. chopped prunes.

Sausage: Add 1 cup cooked and crumbled sausage

Of course there is always the prepared stuffing mixes on shelves everywhere. I make no judgements. Time is a precious commodity. If you are going to use Pepperidge Farm or any of the other dry mixes watch what liquid you use as the mixes tend to be saltier and adding broth could make them too salty. Also when you use pre-seasoned mixes, add the same vegetables you would have added to homemade for a better taste. My mom always uses the Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix and by the time she adds all of her little touches it tastes great.

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